Matilde Cassani

Spiritual Devices

For this project, I spearheaded a comprehensive investigation of the pivotal needs for prayer rituals of four world religions regarding space, furnishings, and other objects. My orientation here was particularly geared toward the makeshift, sometimes unofficial prayer rooms of religious minorities in European cities. I developed four mobile modules in which the most important standards for praying in Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, and Hinduism were addressed and fulfilled, engaging the smallest amount of space possible.

The elements are all mass-produced objects, that, in absence of the proper ones, act as sacred objects. The container is a 1 x 2 m box that is foldable and transportable. The site is an airport, a prison, a cruise liner, a street, or a garage. As a metaphor of the current reality the Spiritual Devices act as solidified heterotopy. The iconic, central, clear image of a place to worship becomes a box to be treated with strong faith.

Spiritual Devices, 2010
Four mobile modules, approx. 2 x 1 m each
Photos: Ivan Sarfatti
Engineering and manufacturing: Sabastiano Conti Gallenti, Sara Galli
Audio engineering: Norbert Schliewe

See also Michael Guggenheim’s essay, Travelling Types and the Law: Minarets and Suicide Hospices.

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